Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day: Three Day Weekend or May 30th

The origins of Memorial Day go back to just after the Civil War, with remembrances of the war dead. Quoting from the Wikipedia write up about Memorial Day:

"According to Professor David Blight of the Yale University History Department, the first memorial day was observed in 1865 by liberated slaves at the historic Washington Race Course (today the location of Hampton Park) in Charleston. The site was a former Confederate prison camp as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who died in captivity.
The freed slaves disinterred the dead Union soldiers from the mass grave to be inhumed properly reposed with individual graves, built a fence around the graveyard with an entry arch, declaring it a Union graveyard. A daring action for freed slaves to take such in the South just shortly after the Union's victory. On May 30, 1868, the freed slaves returned to the graveyard with flowers they had picked from the countryside and decorated the individual gravesites, thereby creating the first Decoration Day. Thousands of freed blacks and Union soldiers paraded from the area, followed by much patriotic singing and a picnic."

You can read the entire Wikipedia about the holiday HERE

For some time, there has been a movement to restore the observance to May 30th, similar to the resetting of the observance of Veteran's Day.

If you are interested in learning more about the efforts to restore the observance of Memorial Day to May 30th, then visit the site of where you can also sign a petition.

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